Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Robert: Painting from Tuesday morning 9-26-06

Indian Girl: Painting from Monday night 9-25-06

This is unfinished of course. They always are. It is done from another painting called Indian Girl after Zhaoming Wu.
You can see the original as well as other work by Zhaoming Wu here

Zhaoming Wu is one of my most favorite painters. I love the way he uses light.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mask: Study in Blue painted on 9-18-06

This was done in a Monday night Fundamentals class. It is OK - rather boring as a painting, but rather fun to do as an exercise. I just have to learn to make these things more interesting to look at - it's just boring! I do enjoy painting still lifes, especially if fruit is involved :)



–verb (used with object) 1. to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence: His courage inspired his followers.
2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc.): to inspire confidence in others.
3. to fill or affect with a specified feeling, thought, etc.: to inspire a person with distrust.
4. to influence or impel: Competition inspired her to greater efforts.
5. to animate, as an influence, feeling, thought, or the like, does: They were inspired by a belief in a better future.
6. to communicate or suggest by a divine or supernatural influence: writings inspired by God.
7. to guide or control by divine influence.
8. to prompt or instigate (utterances, acts, etc.) by influence, without avowal of responsibility.
9. to give rise to, bring about, cause, etc.: a philosophy that inspired a revolution.

So what inspires me? I really don't know. This will require some thought.

People, I guess, since I really don't care to make paintings without people in them very often.

LIST: Observations, what I see in others work and what I want in mine

+ Improved drawing skills: to be able to draw like Ron and Vanessa and Z. Ming Wu and the "advertised Watts students". WHY? Because I think if I have this skill level I will have confidence, I will feel "qualified" and free to do what I want. And because I want to be able to do it and do it with ease. I have never attained the skill level I have always desired. I am not interested in nudes anymore - that used to be my favorite subject, now I am interested in clothes and costumes.

+ I am NOT interested in long drawings, 3-6 hours is about all I have patience for

+ I am not interested in making finished drawings, only as a tool and a skill

+ Now that I have plenty of paint and I am not afraid to use it - I feel hesitancy to use it, like I don't know how to apply it. I should set the goal of doing 15 bad, failed paintings with the thickest gloppiest paint I can muster and see what I learn.

+ I like more color than Vanessa, less color that Susan Sarback

+ I prefer "Alla Prima" painting

+ I like lighting and drama, Z Ming Wu is a favorite for this

+ I like drama, atmospheric effects and mystery

+ I like Linda Christensens work - for lighting, texture, atmosphere, mystery

+ I like texture and some pattern - but mostly bigger, simple shapes

+ I like line

+ I like drawing into and onto paintings - calligraphic marks, words and writing

+ I like Jeff Watts portraits and Fechin, maybe Richard Schmid and Harley Brown


1. putting more paint on
2. mixing colors better
3. not blending as much
4. slowly getting better at likenesses
5. more motivated, more desire
6. beginning to believe in myself more
7. becoming more focused

1. more form definition, 3D and depth
2. more atmosphere and drama
3. improved likenesses
4. more interesting/better paint application
5. having a "vision" of what I want so it's not just a person sitting there
6. work on features
7. work on hands
8. more surface interest
9. think ahead, plan in advance, "see" the painting finished
10. seeing and then interpreting/replicating color and value
11. not being so literal
12. not being "held hostage" by subject matter
13. more confidence - no fear
14. keeping my goal(s) defined, in view and staying focused

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


This is a self-portrait of sorts. Again, very spontaneous, personal prayers are written all through it. It started out being just an interesting image to play with, but as I worked, it began to have meaning and depth to me. I feel like it represents me, as I am re-emerging as an artist. It seemed to speak to me about how I have been trying to do new things, paint in ways that I have never done before, how I have been trying to re-invent myself and become "something" again. I am pretty happy with this, it will do for a while, but over all I feel it got too dark and down the road I may attempt to lighten some of it up a bit. I did not know what to title this - but last night woke up from sleep with the title.

Mask: Unknown Artist

Another acrylic painting that I love. This is just so much fun, and it is prayer. I find myself praying spontaneously while doing these painting and writing the prayers into the images. The words just become integrated into the texture. Since I often pray "in tongues" I find myself making marks like "writing in tongues". Gary Wilson spoke about doing this in his art years ago and now I find myself doing it. I like that it is all so spontaneous. I like just almost everything about this painting. I like the colors, but at times I think they are a little acidic or unsophisticated, but at other times I think it suits the subject and "mood" of the painting.

God Bless the Child

I really am not sure why that is the title of this painting except that is what came to me as I was painting it, and it is written all over in the painting. It is not readable, as the colors would run together and bleed. But it was a prayer, and it was in there. This is done with fluid acrylic and is a result of the Experimental Watermedia class I am taking at the Oceanside Museum of Art with Clair Lise Mathy-Andereg. Doing these acrylic painting is so much fun. And so is this mask series. I was going to put a butterfly in the upper left area as it seems kind of blank, but the more I contemplated it the more I felt that doing so would answer too many questions. It would take too much of the mystery away. So as Bob Burridge says - it's better to stop too soon, so I did. I like it a lot.

Jasmine - painted Tuesday 9-19-06

This portrait is from today's class. I feel pretty good about it. I learned a little bit about paying attention to lighting. The model's spot light fell across my palette, so half of my paint was brightly lit and the other half was in shadow. I really didn't think about it or actually even notice it at first, but it became a real problem. As I worked, the contrast between the lit and shadow parts seemed almost to become exagerated and it became increasingly difficult to see any color at all. The brightly lit paint started to look washed out to me and the paint in the shadow side just looked like all greys. In the last 40 minutes Vanessa put a light out for me and I was very pleasantly surprised at how acceptable the colors were. Two other things I am happy about. 1) I started with big blocks of color, and 2) I recognized that my drawing had become really off, and sort of late in the painting re-drew and corrected it. I am pleased I saw the drawing problem and that I was not at all "afraid" or intimidated to "mess up" my painting by making some major corrections. What I did not make me happy: still stingy with paint, not bold enough, not painting fast enough, no forethought about the "statement" or message I wanted to go for - no "vision".

A New Start and Fresh Focus

I have had a conversation and emailed recently with Vanessa about people taking art classes for a very long time and not getting much better. I decided that I am one of those people. True, up until recently I have not had many good teachers. I have learned more from Vanessa and Ron in the last year than I have from most of the teachers I've had over the past 40+ years put together. Except for Dianna Attie - she will always stand out in my memory as the very best drawing teacher I've ever had.

Anyway, I am trying to figure out why it is that I have been at this art thing for most of my life and I still can't draw and paint very well. I'm not looking to "blame" myself or anyone else - I just want to find out what it is so I can fix it.

I need a plan, a map and a destination.

I think in general I have not taken it as seriously as I am doing now. While I think I am improving - I think I should be doing better than I am. I feel like I am missing stuff but I don't know what it is. Well, I do know some of it. So what I am going to do is design a "course of study" for myself -- which is fancy-talk for making a list of things I need to address and then master those things, at which time I can make another list. Training to win, with the goal being to be able to draw and paint well. I guess I need to define "well" don't I.

I know fear and lack of confidence is a big part of it, but lacking in certain skills is the root of it all.

I will be developing a good vision of where I want to go with my art.

I don't think it's a "talent" issue, I have more than some people, less than others -- so I should have enough to get the job done. It's gotta be other stuff. Can't see and replicate color, can't draw a likeness, don't recognize and translate value very well, maybe I don't really understand form even. I think I understand temperature -- but I don't apply it effectively. Heck - maybe I don't even get that. I am not trying to be "down" on myself or critical -- really. I just know that I have flaws and weaknesses and I want to master them- one at a time. To do that I need to identify them and then have a plan or method or training schedule to go after them.
I need some concrete stuff here - I get so wrapped up and spun around and foggy trying to think about this.

So in summary - that is what this BLOG has just become all about, my development as an artist. About setting some concrete goals and how to go about attaining them. I will be tracking my progress here.

Happy Birthday Mom

Yep today is my Mother's birthday - and being the neglectful, thoughtless daughter that I am - I didn't even get a card in the mail. I did call her though.
I've been working like a dog. No. That's not right. If my dogs are any example that would mean I've been sleeping all day. Hmmm. How about busy as a bee, or working like an ant - they are hard workers and work all the time. Yeah - maybe working like an ant would be better. I am feeling like I am getting some focus and direction, and things are possibly starting to come together.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Busy and somewhat productive day

So I havent had a chance to try to repair the mask painting. Here is a photo of it - still damaged. Another thing for my unreasonably long "to do" list. I was fairly happy with the portrait I did in class yesterday. I feel like I finally was successful in the procedural part of starting and building the painting. I started with large blocks of color - successfully. It is a concept that I have been taught but haven't been able to really carry it out very well. This time I feel like I did, and I am fairly happy with the result. The color is better - just not enough contrast and value change. I will put this on my to do list also. Tomorrow morning is my experimental water media class - and I really look forward to it. The people in the class are very comfortable to be with and it is just a big fun play time - no big expectations or pressure to do anything - but play with paint and have fun.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Another busy day...

Yesterday was ca-razy! I started out experimenting with some old greeting card blanks and collage material. I ended up making a birthday card for my friend Ron, and I think I will try to make a bunch for our art show in November. I called my mom, went to the Doctor for a follow-up visit, came home and finished the card, then raced off to painting class. I did a nice little painting that I was pretty happy with - a rare occurrence - and on the way home my box of supplies fell over right onto the wet painting! It wasn't enough to just fall on it - it has to slide and scrape it! I am bummed - fortunately I have a photo of the still life set up, and some of the paint still on my palette, so this afternoon I will try to do some repairs, see if I can save it.
I did not sleep well last night - thinking about painting and what I am doing with my life. I really feel like I am "not good enough" and maybe I don't "love art as much as I should" - what ever that means. I don't have a passion, or style and I am all over the place with media and subject matter. While I am really enjoying this "mask" series I am working in - I don't feel it is going anywhere, and I fear I will get done with it and still not have any ideas or direction. Enough for now - I have to go get ready for this morning's portrait session.
Later I will post photos of the painting accident.
For now here is a picture of the still life set up.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Very Good Day

Yep, that's what I had yesterday. Vanessa, Charky and I painted in the garage. Vanessa brought her mask collection. We started at about 9:45 AM, chatted a while and then took turns sitting for each other. Nathalie Lynn joined us and took a turn in the chair, but mostly she worked on her jewelry. We painted until about 7 PM! We were so involved that we forgot about eating. I will post one of the photos I took. It was great. Now tell me why is it that almost every really productive day is followed by an unproductive one? Today just didn't seem to come together for me the way I wanted. So the photos are Vanessa in the sad Asian mask - it is so sad when she wears it that it is almost hard to paint. Charky is in the jeweled mask, Nathalie as the Joker, and Rica admires herself in a mirror. What fun.